Here's the way journalism works these days:
On Friday night, I was working in the newsroom when we got two separate calls from employees saying that they had heard Ralph Wilson had died. Now, it was about 10:30 p.m., and our first deadline of the night was at 11:15. We all sort of looked around at each other, knowing that we'd have a busy couple of hours if the story was true.
So, we called the sports editor and our Bills' reporters, and had them try to see what was going on. We also gave the news department a heads-up, since such news would deserve front page coverage. While we were waiting for callbacks, the sports department received calls from CNN, ESPN and the NFL Network asking about it.
Finally, we got a hold of a Bills' executive, who called the Bills' owner's home personally. Ralph's wife Mary answered the phone, and said Ralph was just fine. In fact, the executive could hear Ralph say in the background, "Why are we getting all these calls this late at night?"
There's no clue where the rumor started. Mark Gaughan wrote a note on the News' Billboard blog about it. Meanwhile, we went back to worrying about the NCAA basketball tournament. Well, some of us have stopped worrying now that Syracuse is done, but that's another blog.